Dr Kate Miltner

BA (Columbia), MSc (LSE), MA (USC Annenberg), PhD (USC Annenberg)

Information School

Lecturer in Data, AI & Society

k.miltner@sheffield.ac.uk

Full contact details

Dr Kate Miltner
Information School
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
Sheffield
S1 4DP
Profile

I joined the Information School as a Lecturer in Data, AI, and Society in 2022. Prior to that, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Edinburgh. I received my PhD in Communication in 2019 from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Before becoming an academic, I worked in the creative and tech industries across the US and UK; some of the places I have worked include Microsoft, Twitter, Saatchi & Saatchi, and The Engine Group.

My research explores issues of power and inequality in digital systems, institutions, and cultures. It examines how, and in what forms ,power circulates through digital ecosystems, how structural inequalities are (re)produced within and across digital contexts, and how power and inequality shape what happens—and for whom—in digital spaces.

My work has appeared in the peer-reviewed journals New Media & Society, Science, Technology and Human Values, Social Media + Society, International Journal of Communication, First Monday, Feminist Media Studies, and Mobile Media and Communication. My research and expertise have been featured in global media including Wired, Slate, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Financial Times, Al Jazeera, and the BBC. I have also received Best Paper awards from the International Communication Association and National Communication Association.

University responsibilities

  • Deputy Ethics Coordinator
Research interests

My current research focuses on the discourse and business of “learning to code” and interrogates the widespread claim that digital skills offer a gateway to equity for under-represented groups in an increasingly digital economy.  My EU-funded project Who’s Coding is the first major study of coding & skills bootcamps in the United Kingdom and investigates the relationship between their values, norms, and practices and the (re)production of inequalities.

In addition to my work on digital skills, industry, and economy, I have been researching digital cultures for over a decade. My work in this area has a particular focus on the politics of inclusion and exclusion within digital cultures, especially concerning issues of gender and race. My published work in this area has covered topics including internet memes, influencer communities, networked misogyny, and social media nostalgia.

My research also explores the politics of how digital platforms & formats are developed and used. In this work, I explore how seemingly ‘trivial’ digital objects reflect significant power dynamics. I have researched the cultural significance of selfies and the animated GIF file format, as well as racialized representation in emoji. My current work on platformed solidarity (with Dr Tim Highfield) explores how digital platforms and brands participate in “woke capitalism” by changing their affordances in response to current events.

I am interested in supervising PhDs on topics that take a critical approach to sociotechnical issues and topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Politics of Digital Technologies
  • Inequality and the digital
  • Digital identities and online communities
  • Technical industries and cultures
  • Sociotechnical practices and assemblages

I am primarily a qualitative researcher and am experienced in a variety of methods, including ethnography, interviews, discourse analysis, visual methods, digital archival methods, the walkthrough method, platform biographies, and other critical digital methods.

Publications

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Miltner KM (2018) Rupaul’s drag race keyboard: Affect and resistance through visual communication, Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps (pp. 289-298). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Miltner KM (2018) Internet Memes, The SAGE Handbook of Social Media (pp. 412-428). SAGE Publications Ltd RIS download Bibtex download
Professional activities
  • Member, Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
  • Member, International Communication Association Media Industry Studies Interest Group;
  • Member, UKRI Early Career Researchers Forum